Legendary actress, Judy Garland, was born Frances Ethel Gumm on Jun 10, 1922 in Grand Rapids, MN. Garland appeared in over 35 films and shorts from 1930 to 1963. Garland died at the age of 47 on Jun 22, 1969 in London, England and was laid to rest in Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hartsdale, Westchester County, NY.
Regarded as one of the greatest entertainers of all time, Judy Garland also serves as a tragic paradigm of the demands of the spotlight. Born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Garland was born into a family of performers. Both of her parents were vaudevillians, and her sisters had been performing at small functions throughout Grand Rapids. At just two years old, she joined her sisters' act for the first time, her talent and flair for performing obvious. In 1926, the clan headed west to Lancaster, California where Garland's mother, Ethel, worked tirelessly to get her daughters into the movie business. The Gumm Sisters (their performance name) were enrolled to study acting and dancing. In the late 1920's, they appeared is several short films and by the time it came for the trio to showcase their talents at the Chicago's World Fair, they were re-christened as the Garland Sisters. Soon after, Louie B. Mayor scouted the trio but only one sister, now called Judy Garland, was signed to a contract. She was 13.
MGM / STUDIO YEARS / MICKEY ROONEY:
Once at MGM, Garland's physical appearance was viewed as a problem. Short and cute but by no means a great beauty, Garland's image did not exude the glamour typical of MGM's other leading ladies at the time. She was fashioned with the ÃÂgirl next doorÃÂ image, often photographed in very plain or childish clothing. In 1935, Judy Garland debuted the song ÃÂZing! Went the Strings to My HeartÃÂ on the Shell Chateau Hour radio program. That night, her father who was hospitalized for meningitis took a turn for the worse, passing away the following morning.
In 1936, she starred opposite fellow child-singer Deanna Durbin in the musical short Every Sunday and then was loaned to 20th Century Fox for Pigskin Parade. At a birthday celebration for Clark Gable, it was arranged for Garland to sing ÃÂYou Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It).ÃÂ The performance was adored so much that she sang the song again in the star studded Broadway Melody of 1938, only this time to a photo of Gable.
In 1937, Garland teamed with Mickey Rooney for the first time in the film, Thoroughbreds Don't Cry. She was then cast in 1938's Love Finds Andy Hardy playing the literal girl next door as Lana Turner played Rooney's love interest. Garland and Rooney would go on to star in a series of ÃÂbackyard musicals,ÃÂ typified by 1939's Babes in Arms. The duo would go on to star in five more films together (*see list below). Because of their hectic and strenuous shooting schedule, MGM provided Garland, Rooney, and other child actors amphetamines for energy and barbiturates to sleep. This practice led Garland to life-long problems with addiction.
THE WIZARD OF OZ:
In 1939, Garland starred in the role that would define the rest of her life ÃÂ Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Although the role has since become a pop culture staple, Garland was not the studio's first choice to play Dorothy. The Studio had planned to borrow 20th Century Fox star Shirley Temple, and only cast Garland after the deal with Fox fell though. The film was a massive hit and was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning two (Best Song, Best Score). At the Oscar Ceremony, Garland was awarded an Academy Juvenile Award for performances in The Wizard of Oz and Babes in Arms.
STUDIO YEARS / 1940s / MGM TERMINATION:
In 1940 Garland starred in Andy Hardy Meets Debutante, Strike Up the Band, and Little Nellie Kelly. All three were a success, making Garland one of biggest stars at MGM. In 1942, Garland starred in Me and My Gal with Gene Kelly in his silver screen debut. The next year, Garland made the transition from teen star to adult actress in Presenting Lily Mars. In the film, she shed her ÃÂgirl next doorÃÂ image for a more adult, more glamorous look. In 1944 she starred in Meet Me in St. Louis, directed by Vincent Minnelli. The two began a relationship while filming and were married in June of 1945. Garland acted in her first straight drama in 1945's The Clock. Although the film was a success, it would be many years before Garland would act in a non-singing role again.
By the mid 1940's, non-stop work and prescription drug addiction began to take a toll on Garland. She became more irritable, less reliable and began to drink. During the filming of The Pirate she suffered a nervous breakdown, and after filming was complete, Garland attempted suicide. After a stay at a psychiatric hospital in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, she returned to MGM to begin work on Easter Parade. Still not entirely stable, Garland began to fall back on old habits, and was either fired or suspended from three separate films. In 1950, after the filming for Summer Stock was complete, MGM terminated Garland's contract and her career seemed to be in a downward spiral.
AFTER MGM / RETURNING TO THE STAGE / A STAR IS BORN:
In 1951, with help from producer, and later husband, Sid Luft, Garland began to rebuild her career by going back to her roots: the stage. She opened a vaudeville-style, two-a-day show at the Palace Theatre. She smashed all previous ticket sales and the show ran for over 20 weeks. In 1952, she was presented with a special Tony Award for her work on the show and her contributions to vaudeville. After the success of her show, Garland's reputation had improved and she was invited back to Hollywood to star in the Warner Brother's remake of A Star is Born. Although Garland seemed fully dedicated at the start of production, as the filming progressed Garland regressed, slipping back into old habits. Although rife with production delays and over-budget, upon its release the film was a critical and commercial hit. Garland received an Oscar nomination and was generally regarded as the frontrunner but lost to Grace Kelly.
As the fifties rolled along, Garland became more singer than actress. She made television appearances and held concert tours. In 1956, she became a highest paid entertainer in Las Vegas and later that year, she returned to the Palace Theater. In 1961, she was part of a war ensemble film Judgment at Nuremburg. For her performance, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Later that year, amidst a failing third marriage, Garland put on an unforgettable performance at Carnegie Hall. In 1963, she received her own television series: The Judy Garland Show. It would run for just a year. Although the cancellation of the show left Garland depressed, she was still a very in demand entertainer. In 1965, she divorced Sid Luft. After that, both Garland's career and personal life began to deteriorate. She toured but her dependence on drug and alcohol began to show themselves in her performances. During a concert in a London nightclub, Garland was booed off stage. Judy Garland was found dead in her London apartment on June 22, 1969. Her death was ruled an accidental overdose of barbiturates. She was 47.(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).
*GARLAND / ROONEY FILMS:
Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney starred in EIGHT films together, actually TEN if you also count their appearances in Thousands Cheer and Words and Music.
Garland/Rooney FILMS: Thoroughbreds Dont Cry (1937), Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Babes in Arms (1939), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), Strike Up the Band (1940), Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941), Babes on Broadway (1941), Girl Crazy (1943), Thousands Cheer (1943), Words and Music (1948).
HONORS and AWARDS:.
Although Garland was nominated for two Oscars, she never won a competitive Academy Award. However she won one Honorary Oscar Award in 1939 for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile.
She was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the categories of Motion Pictures and Recording. Judy Garland's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #50 on Oct 10, 1939. In addition, Garland was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 1990.
TOP CMH FAN-RATED MOVIES include:Broadway Melody of 1938, Thoroughbreds Don't Cry, Presenting Lily Mars, Summer Stock, For Me and My Gal, The Clock, Meet Me in St. Louis, A Child Is Waiting, The Wizard of Oz and A Star is Born.
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